Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday announced that restaurants in yellow-phase Pennsylvania counties as of June 5 can begin outdoor dining. The restaurants reopening has to follow guidelines to assure the employees and clients safety.
Restaurants are not allowed to reopen for dine-in service indoors until a county enters the state´s green phase. However, they will soon be allowed to reopen for outdoor dining even in counties that are in the yellow phase.
The guidelines also detail how restaurants and bars will operate in the green phase.
You can read: More Pennsylvania counties move to the yellow phase
Restaurants must adhere to maximum occupancy limits and the following directions:
- Tables must be separated.
- Customers being served must be seated at a table.
- Indoor areas must be closed to customers except for through-traffic.
The following are all prohibited:
- Bar seating.
- Buffets, salad bars, condiment or drink stations, and any other self-service.
- Condiments on tables. Instead, a customer must request them.
- Reusable menus.
- Refilling the same food or beverage containers.
Maximum occupancy is determined using one of the following methods, and applies to both dining outdoors and indoors.
Method 1: Limit to 50% of fire-code capacity or 12 people per 1,000 square feet if there is not a fire code number available.
Method 2: Arrange the seating so that customers are at least 6 feet from customers at another table.
The use of protective masks is considered under the following indications:
- Customers:Required to wear masks while entering, exiting or moving about the restaurant. Customers with medical conditions that prevent them from wearing a mask, and children under 2, are not required to wear them. Face coverings may be removed while seated.
- Employees:Must be provided nonmedical masks by their employers, and wear them at all times, unless it impedes their vision, they have a medical condition, or it creates an unsafe condition while performing a task.
Concerning social distancing restaurants must:
- Keep at least 6 feet of separation between people at tables. Spacing must also allow for physical distancing from areas outside of the facility’s control, such as a sidewalk, so that no one can pass within 6 feet of a customer.
- Provide physical guides, such as tape on floors or signs, to keep customers at least 6 feet apart while waiting in line to be seated or to use the bathroom.
Restaurants are encouraged, but not required, to seat no more than 10 people at a table.
Restaurants are also required to:
- Frequently monitor and clean high-touch areas, including doors and bathroom surfaces, while continuing to regularly clean all other areas.
- Clean and disinfect any shared items, such as tabletops, digital menus, check presenters and digital payment devices, after each use.
- Implement procedures to increase cleaning and sanitizing in the kitchen and other employee-only areas.
Restaurants and bars can reopen bar seating in the green phase, if they follow these guidelines:
- Customers must be seated 6 feet apart, or separated by physical barriers.
- A maximum of four customers that have a common relationship may sit together at the bar, while adhering to the distancing guidelines between other customers.
- No standing is permitted in the bar area.
Melissa Bova, vice president of government affairs for the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association, considered the initiative a good start.